Dolly Parton Opens Up About Her Charity Work: ‘I Just Give From My Heart

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW)

In recent years, the world learned that Dolly Parton is a consummate philanthropist. She gave $1 million to help develop the COVID vaccine. Additionally, Dolly invests in Dollywood employees’ higher education. Then, there is the fact that she used the royalties from Whitney Houston’s version of her classic “I Will Always Love You” to purchase a strip mall in Nashville to support neighboring Black communities.

In a recent development, many Twitter users came to the realization that Parton funded high school band programs across Tennessee. And, we can’t forget about the Imagination Library which gives free books to children around the world. That’s not even going into all of the meaningful things she does for the residents of East Tennessee. In short, Dolly has a big heart and is quick to lend a helping hand.

Yesterday, Dolly Parton got official recognition for her years of philanthropy. She received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. The family of Carnegie institutions bestows the honor on innovative philanthropists who are making a difference in the world.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Dolly Parton opened up about her charitable giving and how she chooses causes to support.

Dolly Parton on Philanthropy

Dolly Parton keeps several philanthropic irons in the fire. In her acceptance speech, she revealed how she chooses which causes to support. Parton said, “I give with my heart. I never know what I’m going to do or why I’m gonna do it. I just see a need and if I can fill it, then I will.”

Speaking to the Associated Press, Dolly Parton said, “That’s what we should do as human beings. I never quite understood why we have to let religion and politics and things like that stand in the way of just being good human beings. I think it’s important from that standpoint just to feel like you’re doing your part, doing something decent and good and right.”

Dolly Parton said she doesn’t donate her time and money to get attention. In fact, she sometimes thinks that her philanthropy gets too much attention. “I get paid more attention than maybe some others that are doing more than me,” Parton said. Ever the optimist, Dolly said she hopes that news of her philanthropy will inspire others to reach out and lend a helping hand when they can.

Dolly Inspires Charity

Earlier this year, Dolly Parton launched the Care More Initiative which offers Dollywood employees a day off to volunteer for a nonprofit of their choice. She explained why she thinks it’s so important to do this for her employees. “I think it’s important for everyone to do their share to help their fellow man. This world is so crazy, I don’t think we even know what we’re doing to each other and to this world,” she said.

“When you help somebody,” Dolly Parton said, “it helps them, but it can also help you more.”